Social Entrepreneurs:

the world’s best bet for solving pressing global problems.

“Every once in a while, backed by revolutionary rather than normal thinking, a society leaps forward to a fundamentally new equilibrium.”

Martin and Osberg, Getting Beyond Better

How we work

Our approach to seeking solutions to the world’s most pressing problems has social entrepreneurs at its center. Why? Because these extraordinary leaders and their organizations are creating innovative models to drive equilibrium change—the disruption of social, economic, and political forces that enable inequality, injustice, and other thorny social and environmental problems to persist. By disrupting the status quo, social entrepreneurs open up the space for solutions to take root, scale, and become the foundation of profound social transformation and a more peaceful and prosperous world.

“Social entrepreneurs both take direct action and seek to transform the existing systems. They seek to go beyond better, to bring about a transformed, stable new system that is fundamentally different than the world that preceded it.”

Social transformation is never the work of a single actor. It is almost always the result of powerful connection and collaboration between innovators, agitators, thought leaders, and those who hold levers of power in business and government.

The Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship was launched to provide a space to help forge those connections and morph them into real partnerships and impact.

The Skoll Foundation cultivates an ecosystem approach to driving equilibrium change, supporting and creating the conditions for social entrepreneurs’ innovations and models for change to flourish by:

  • Investing in those innovations and models when they are ripe to deliver outsized impact and drive large-scale change to create a completely new, more just and equitable equilibrium.
  • Building networks, collaborations, and partnerships to help scale the impact of social entrepreneurs.
  • Leveraging media and storytelling to drive awareness, learning, and greater impact.

Our Approach

Our Investment Strategy

We use our financial resources to provide a continuum of funding to social entrepreneurs and partners to help them scale their innovations and models for change in our collective drive toward large-scale impact. And we believe unrestricted funding plays an important role in innovation and entrepreneurial growth. We also invest in partners who share our values and sense of urgency to accelerate social progress.

Our Program Investments

Inspired by the best venture investors, we provide grants and program-related investments to those leaders and organizations poised to drive large-scale impact. We offer social entrepreneurs flexibility to allocate resources where they are most needed, within a framework of clear, measurable progress toward game-changing outcomes. We fund organizations at a mezzanine level—providing resources to established entrepreneurs with proven innovations and models on a pathway to equilibrium change.

Since 1999, we have invested nearly $400 million in the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship in continuum of funding and support for social entrepreneurs, and in partnerships and other collaborations that help social entrepreneurs and other innovators scale their impact.
Our Endowment Strategy

We manage our endowment in alignment with our mission and standards for institutional responsibility. Along with our investment manager, Capricorn Investment Group, we believe that superior investment returns can be achieved by incorporating ethical, social, and environmental goals. Capricorn Investment Group is a certified B Corporation.

Engaged Investing

Customers, shareholders, and constituents can and should hold institutions accountable for the results of their actions. As shareholders in publicly traded companies, we manage our shareholder proxy votes according to our Public Shareholder Engagement Guidelines. We also add our voice to those of other investors seeking to change a harmful status quo. For example, following the lead of Ceres, a Skoll Awardee, we signed the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) Action Plan.

The principles and actions we are pursuing rely significantly on the leadership and support of others seeking to deploy capital responsibly and for good. A partial list includes: Mission Investors Exchange and Global Impact Investing Network.

Issue Areas

These investments support Skoll Awardees who are driving solutions to the world’s most pressing problems in six main issue areas: